Spurs news: Alfie Devine tipped for England future by former coach

Spurs youngster Alfie Devine

Jose Mourinho handed Alfie Devine his senior debut in Spurs' 5-0 win over Marine in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon. 

Spurs' visit to Marine summed up exactly what "the magic of the cup" is all about. 

It was the epitome of a David vs Goliath fixture which threw up a whole host of fairytale narratives in the pre-match build-up. 

While the non-league minnows couldn't spring one of the most unlikely upsets in the history of the competition, an alternatively heart-warming subplot did emerge during proceedings. 

With Spurs 4-0 up and cruising at the interval, Jose Mourinho sent 16-year-old Alfie Devine onto the field in place of Moussa Sissoko. 

Devine became the youngest Spurs player of all time as he entered the fray and he broke another record within 15 minutes on the field by netting the visitors' fifth goal of the game. 

And it was a fine strike as well, one that showcased his close-control and quick-witted dribbling in tight areas. 

In the aftermath of the prodigy's major achievement, Wigan Athletic's academy manager, Gregor Ricoh, who worked with the youngster at the Latics prior to his transfer to Spurs in July 2020, waxed lyrical about his style of play and attitude, per Daily Mirror.

"He's got his own unique style.

"He's got the most incredible attitude, and a real drive and desire to be a professional footballer and to have a long-term career."

The dangers of over-hyping young footballers have been well documented.

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A string of tales of wasted talent prove that translating promise at youth level into consistency and quality at senior level is no mean feat.

But Ricoh doesn't appear to be concerned by the prospect of putting too much pressure on Devine's shoulders and backed him to become a full England international in the future. 

"There is no limits on what he can achieve. You can see how highly thought of he is by his teammates. He should gain Premier League status on a regular basis and maybe more. He'll go all the way.

"I've worked with internationals like James Maddison and Callum Wilson and I can certainly see Devine becoming a full international one day too."

Maddison and Wilson, who cost their clubs £24m and £20m respectively, have both blossomed into stars in the Premier League. 

Wilson has effectively carried Newcastle United this season as their sole goal threat and he'll be hoping to fend off competition from a host of in-form English strikers to earn a place in Gareth Southgate's Euro 2021 squad. 

Maddison, meanwhile, faces a challenging fight to rise above Jack Grealish and Mason Mount in the pecking order and only has one cap to his name despite his immense talent. 

That Ricoh has namechecked Maddison and Wilson speaks to the expectation the 45-year-old has for Devine's future, and it's encouraging to see someone who has worked closely with the Warrington-born midfielder speak so effusively and optimistically about his development. 

The auspicious signs are there to point towards an incredibly bright future for the record-breaking youngster. 

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